Green Gardeners’ Guild Chat With: Life_on_the_lot
Welcome to another exciting edition of our bi-weekly Green Gardener’s Guild chats – this time catching up with one of our favourite allotment owners! Jen from life_on_the_lot was kind enough to sit down with us for a little time this week to tell us all about her allotment and her experience. We won’t lie – you’re all going to be just as excited as we were to hear all about Jen’s gardening work!
The floor is all yours, Jen – so take it away and tell us all about your allotment.
“I have an allotment based in Wirral in the North West of England. It’s a very good size plot around 80ft long. Currently we have a self-built polyhouse and an upcycled greenhouse all in use. Our latest project is the 8ftx15ft polytunnel which is in the process of being constructed for growing over winter and ready for Spring 2023.
I grow a huge variety of vegetables for our family but quickly realised we have far too much space to fill than we could actually store and eat. So, I began growing flowers to help with pollination and biodiversity. This love affair quickly grew and next year I am aiming to begin a small flower business from the plot supplying British-grown flowers.
Any spare moment possible, I’m at the allotment. I am a daily gardener when other aspects of my day job and life as a mum allow!”
The versatility of our gardens and allotments is one of the reasons why we love hearing stories like Jen’s – everyone uses their green spaces for something different, be that growing our own food or simply for the enjoyment of seeing new flowers bloom, or even to help wildlife. That’s why most of our coir is usable in a variety of situations – like our Coco Grow, made completely inert (free of nutrients!) to be able to be used in soil improving, raised beds, reptile/pet bedding, and a whole lot more. There’s so many possibilities out in your garden – and in your home to bring a little bit of nature closer!
We asked if Jen’s allotment was mostly tended to herself or with her family: “ We are definitely a family plot! Our daughter was three when we gained the keys to our plot, right before the pandemic began. Most of those sunny days were spent there, outside learning to grow and what all the different plants were. My husband usually throws himself into the build projects and the composting so we make a great team with our different roles. Not to mention our new addition of our 9 month old Labrador – Monty, who is with us too usually digging a hole!”
(A little side note from us: coir is pet-safe – made from coconuts, not from cocoa! The more you know!)
When we asked about Jen’s most enjoyed moments in gardening and the challenges she faces, she told us that she loves “how grounded it makes you feel, when life is feeling pretty chaotic. The chance to slow down and be present is absolutely needed. But, also nurturing things is such an amazing thing to do! Especially when you can eat things and share things with family and friends that you have created.”
As for challenges? “Time and water. Especially this past year with the extreme temperatures having the time to get more water to the plot was a real challenge. But, it does need to be addressed how we overcome this and maybe what plants will thrive better in our changing conditions.”
The changing of our climate is something that concerns us at Coco&Coir too – which is one of the reasons why we are constantly looking at ways to reduce our environmental impact and limit harmful emissions. There are options out there to begin making our gardens greener – and switching to coir can be a great start, limiting our impact by leaving our peatlands that capture harmful carbon emissions alone. Peat-free compost like coconut coir not only helps leave peatlands alone, but it is also great for water retention.
Add some coir to your soil as a soil improver or use as the majority of your plants’ growing media to see the difference – as temperatures rise, you may see the difference even more. Take care during Summer and Winter for extreme weather, and look after your plants as best you can. We’ll be right there with you!
As we chat about sustainability, we also asked Jen if she would consider herself a sustainable gardener, to which she happily replied: “I definitely try to be! Making as much of my own compost as possible and saving seeds are the fun and sustainable parts of gardening which are also fun to do. I also make my own plant food from my comfrey plants which is definitely a game changer!”
Creating your own compost and plant food for boosting your blooms is a fantastic idea, and one that we wholeheartedly agree anyone should get involved with! Not only can you cut some of the costs in tending to your garden and allotment by using sustainable gardening methods, but you will be helping to reduce and reuse in your green havens. Adding in some of our sustainably-sourced garden articles and compost and you’ve got a recipe for a much more sustainable space that you can be proud of!
We also wanted to ask Jen how she would rate her garden out of 10, and surprised us with her answer – but in a fantastic way! “Ha ha I think this might be a trick question! Perfect is definitely a matter of opinion. If your space brings you joy then it is perfect!”
Last but not least, our usual ending question – and Jen’s choice of exotic plant she would love to grow if the British weather would allow. Can you take a guess?
“Oranges for sure!!! So beautiful and delicious!”
A huge thank you to Jen for taking the time to answer all of our questions in this week’s Green Gardener’s Guild Chat – we were so delighted to have been able to share with everyone your allotment and story! Follow Jen on her Instagram to keep with all of her latest allotment stories, and check out Coco&Coir for our newest product announcements, blogs, tips, and more.
If you would like to share your story with the Guild, get in touch and we will be delighted to share your story. Join the sustainable revolution with us!